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Episode 364: Benefits of PMP® Certification Explained (Free)

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This episode is sponsored by The PM PrepCast:
The PM PrepCast for the PMP Exam

Niraj Kumar
Niraj Kumar, PMP

Is PMP certification worth it? According to Niraj Kumar ( -- the answer is an emphatic yes!

He not only says that the PMP salary you can expect is greater on average, but he also found many other PMP certification benefits. Having a shared vocabulary and enjoying a completely different and often steep career path are just two of them.

So if you are either already PMP certified or thinking about your own PMP Exam Prep and and wondering about the value of PMP certification, then this interview is definitely for you. Niraj and I explore the benefits of being or becoming a PMP from various aspects.

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

Podcast Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to Episode #364. This is The Project Management Podcast™ at and I'm Cornelius Fichtner. Thank you very much for listening in. Please remember that we are a listener-supported podcast, so if you enjoy these interviews then please visit

Well is the PMP certification worth it? According to Niraj Kumar the answer is an emphatic yes. He not only says that the PMP salary that you can expect is greater on average, but he also found many other PMP certification benefits: having a shared vocabulary; and enjoying a completely different, and often steep, career path; are just two of them. If you are a project manager and you want to become PMP or PMI-ACP Certified, then the easiest way to do so is with our sister podcast The Project Management PrepCast or the Agile PrepCast and study for the exam by watching the in-depth exam prep video training from

So if you are either PMP certified or you’re thinking about it and wondering about the value of PMP certification then this interview with Niraj Kumar is definitely for you. Niraj and I, we explore the benefits of being or becoming a PMP from various aspects.

And now, getting there is half the fun; being there is all of it. Enjoy the interview.

Podcast Interview

Female Voice: The Project Management Podcast's feature interview:

Today with Niraj Kumar, who talks about leadership and leads a team of managers and engineers at his day job.

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello, Niraj and welcome to the program!

Niraj Kumar: Hello, Cornelius. Thank you for inviting me! I’m honored, I’m very honored to be on your podcast.

Cornelius Fichtner: Well, thank you very much, very happy to have you! So you became a PMP a long time ago. We want to talk about the value of the PMP® Exam. But what can our listeners expect to take away from our discussion today?

Niraj Kumar: I think connecting to what you just said, our listeners can take away the fact that PMP certification does not add value just right now in their career right in this moment; it keeps adding value for a long time. And looking at a certification like this for the value it creates long term is a way to go. And it kind of takes the pressure off a little bit that you don’t have to gain everything right now. But it also lets a PMP understand that this is something that will keep helping them for a long, long time.

Cornelius Fichtner: Why is it important for you to talk about this? Because I want to make it absolutely clear to the listeners—this interview wasn’t my idea! You wrote to me and said why don’t we do an interview about the value of the PMP exam. So, what is the importance for you?

Niraj Kumar: The importance for me personally is that a certification and appealing for a certification, writing the exam, connecting with the community of certified professionals, kind of helps you on a self-growth. It puts you on a path to self-development. It gets you into a category of professionals who are not relying on others to help them develop, but they are responsible, they are taking the ownership of developing themselves, adding more value to the customers they serve. And I believe that if you think about professionals that we interact with, not many are interested in self-development. Many of them are just interested in what they can get out of the business—what they can get out of the employer. I believe to really gain a higher ground in their career and to accelerate their career, it’s necessary for them to invest in themselves. And that’s why I felt like I needed to reach out to you, and send the message that PMP certification is a great start to putting yourself in a differentiated category where you go to your clients, your sponsors, and you make a case with your behavior, with your certification, with your studies and self-growth that I’m somebody that you don’t have to coax into developing. I take charge of my own growth. And what I learn everyday will be instrumental in providing more value to you, Mr. Customer or Mrs. Sponsor or Miss Client.

Cornelius Fichtner: It’s been seven years since you took your PMP exam. It’s even been longer for me. From your perspective was it worth it? Are you happy you became a PMP?

Niraj Kumar: Absolutely! Absolutely, I believe it was totally worth it. Because before that exam, before I started preparing for my PMP, I used to think that you can either learn, go to school and be a full-time student, or you can have a rewarding career, or you can be a professional. But after, after preparing, while preparing for the exam, I—my internal view changed that you can do both. In fact, it’s necessary to grow at the same time as you are providing value to your sponsors, to your stakeholders as a project manager, and gave me the confidence that you can design a learning path for yourself as a consummate professional who keeps learning everyday. In fact, the biggest lesson I learned is that if you learn half an hour everyday, everyday, then it adds up and the cumulative benefits are huge because you learn for half an hour and you apply the next day. Then you learn for half an hour. I felt like the value is even bigger than going to a school full-time and just studying, and then waiting until you get a job, until you start your business, however you provide value to your customer. So I think just in that sense, the certification exam was totally worth it. It put me on a path of self-growth that never stopped. And when PMI included the Talent Triangle and they added business skills and leadership skills, that was just amazing for me to see because it was so tied to what I had seen for the first five years. I had seen that the best project managers, the most successful ones, the ones who command a higher salary, the ones who are called by their ex-clients to take on new projects, they were the ones who were not only learning PM technical skills, but they were learning business off their clients, and they were growing in their own leadership skills. So I was very happy to see that, and I think it was totally worth it just the way it changed my belief system on how you learn and apply the skills you learn.

Cornelius Fichtner: You’ve mentioned the magic word: salary. There are studies out there that say that PMPs earn a higher salary in the marketplace. Do you think this is correct? Do PMPs receive a higher salary?

Niraj Kumar:  I think, I know that PMI has data that proves it, but I personally have observed that it’s kind of an indirect link. I don’t think that you write a PMP® Exam and next day your salary goes up. Unless you work for a few organizations where it’s clearly documented. I know that there are a few organizations where they clearly tell you that if you are a PMP you earn higher salary. If we leave them out, and it’s a small percentage of the employers I have seen, if you leave them out, your salary does not immediately go up. In the long run though it does go up. It goes up because of a few factors.

First, when you are looking for a new job or a new project, if you have a PMP there are more opportunities available to you because many employers will not even consider someone who does not have a PMP. So if a non-PMP has 10 opportunities and PMP has 100 then you are in a position to negotiate. You’re in a position to kind of choose, pick and choose your clients. And that’s the way I see PMP increasing your salary.

So eventually yes I would say it does increase the salary for a project manager. It increases your, as I previously mentioned, it increases your growth potential. It increases your promotion path. In fact, after I obtained my PMP within, I would say within a year I was promoted to a program manager role. I was a project manager and then became a program manager.

Cornelius Fichtner: Mmhm, and of course that also meant a salary increase…

Niraj Kumar:  Absolutely, yes, it did. Because it was a higher-grade role. And in fact after that role project managers reported to me, and I was running a large program. So it meant a larger responsibility, but salary absolutely did go up.

Cornelius Fichtner: Can you think of any other benefits that a PMP can expect from his or her certification?


Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only. Please subscribe to our Premium Podcast to receive a PDF transcript.

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Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM, is the host and the author at The Project Management Podcast. He has welcomed hundreds of guests and project management experts to the podcast and has helped over 60,0000 students prepare for their PMP® Exam. He has authored dozens of articles on and PM World 360. He speaks at conferences around the world about project management, agile methodology, PMOs, and Project Business. Follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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